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Becket’s bones return to Canterbury Cathedral

Posted on: May 26th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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This relic of St Thomas Becket is touring south-east England this week from its home in Esztergom, Hungary, and will be at Canterbury Cathedral next weekend.
Photo Credit: Hungarian Government

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] The bones of Thomas Becket, the 12th Century Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered at the behest of King Henry II, are to return to the cathedral where he was killed and buried at the conclusion of a pilgrimage tour through south east England from their home in Hungary. The arrival of the relics of Saint Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday will be the culmination of Becket Week – an ecumenical series of events organised by the Hungarian government.

Becket hadn’t been ordained by the time he was appointed to the see of Canterbury. He was ordained a priest on 2 June 1162 and consecrated as a bishop the following day to enable him to take on the role as Archbishop of Canterbury. But the King’s man became the Church’s man and as the new Archbishop continued to assert the Church’s independent authority; the King became increasingly frustrated; leading to Becket’s temporary exile in France; before Pope Alexander III secured his right to return.

But months later, four knights interpreted the King’s purported exclamation – “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?” – as a request for Becket to be killed; and they set off to Canterbury where they attacked him with swords in the cathedral itself. He died on the spot. His remains were venerated and the number of visitors to the cathedral led to his remains being reburied in an elaborate shrine. At the time of the reburial, small sections of bone were removed and taken to different churches as relics – and it is believed by many that this is how a section of his elbow came to be venerated at Esztergom, at a church which already bore his name.

Saint Thomas Becket’s shrine at Canterbury Cathedral was destroyed on the orders of Henry VIII as part of the dissolution of the monasteries and his remaining bones crushed.

That relic from Esztergom has today joined relics from St Magnus the Martyr and St Thomas of Canterbury churches in London, St Thomas Church in Canterbury, and Stonyhurst Jesuit estate in Lancashire, at Westminster Cathedral – the leading Roman Catholic Church in London – for what has been termed Becket Week.

The relics arrived at the cathedral at 4 pm this afternoon. A special service of vespers is getting underway at 5 pm ahead of a solemn mass celebrated by Cardinal Péter Erdő, Archbishop of Esztergom, Budapest, in the presence of the Hungarian President János Áder, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.

The relics will remain at Westminster Cathedral until tomorrow evening when they will be taken to Westminster Abbey – the Queen’s church in London – ahead of a solemn evensong sung jointly by the Cathedral and Abbey Choirs. President Áder will once again be present.

The bones will then be on display for most of the week at St Margaret’s Church – the parish church of the Houses of Parliament, adjacent to Westminster Abbey and a range of services and special events will take place. On Friday they will be taken to Rochester in Kent, ahead of a service attended by Bishop László Kiss-Rigó of Szeged-Csanád; the Mayor of Esztergom, , Etelka Romanek; and the Hungarian foreign minister István Mikola.

On Saturday, pilgrims will assemble at St Michael’s Church in Harbledown, just outside Canterbury, ahead of a walk to Canterbury Cathedral where a special “welcome service” will be held in the presence of religious and civil leaders.

And on Sunday afternoon, Becket Week will conclude with a Catholic Mass in the crypt of Canterbury Cathedral and an open air concern in the cathedral precincts.

The site of Becket’s martyrdom continues to draw pilgrims and is where, in 1982, Pope John Paul II and Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie knelt and prayed together during the first visit of a Pope to the United Kingdom.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from the ACNS on Monday 23 May 2016

Church calendar shifts to missional focus

Posted on: May 26th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Past editions of the Canadian Church Calendar published by the Anglican Church of Canada. The 2017 calendar will see a shift in focus from church buildings to engagement in God's mission by members of both the Anglican Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

Past editions of the Canadian Church Calendar published by the Anglican Church of Canada. The 2017 calendar will see a shift in focus from church buildings to engagement in God’s mission by members of both the Anglican Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.

Church calendar shifts to missional focus

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The Canadian Church Calendar published annually by the Anglican Church of Canada will take a new direction in 2017, bringing aboard a full communion partner in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) and changing focus from church buildings to church ministry and engagement in God’s mission.

Praising the legacy of the buildings bequeathed to the church by previous generations, General Secretary Michael Thompson described the new missional focus as underscoring the role of the church in Canada and around the world.

“There’s nothing wrong with buildings; it’s just that they’re not the story,” Thompson said. “The story is the ministry of the church in service to God’s mission. That’s the story that we need to put in front of the church.

“Every month, when you turn the page of the new calendar, you’ll see a new engagement in activity that serves the common good or advocates for justice for the poor, and I hope that is inspiring for people.”

The impetus for the change came from a 2014 joint staff meeting between the Lutheran and Anglican churches in Winnipeg. For several years, the ELCIC had expressed interest in the idea of sharing the calendar with the Anglican Church.

“The idea of a joint ELCIC and Anglican Church of Canada calendar has been in discussion for a while now and we’ve explored several concepts,” ELCIC director of communications and stewardship Trina Gallop Blank said.

“The concept of a joint project that helps lift up ministries where we are working together feels like a natural extension of our full communion partnership.”

Thompson credited ELCIC National Bishop Susan Johnson with suggesting that the calendar might focus more on the activity of the church rather than its buildings. As a strong advocate of the Marks of Mission, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, was “jazzed” by the idea.

Pointing to a common trope that the church lavishes much of its money and attention on maintaining its buildings, Thompson noted, “It seemed rather contradictory for the Anglican Church of Canada to produce a calendar that actually reinforced that notion that the buildings are the most important, most lovely thing about the church.

“There are some beautiful church buildings, there’s no doubt about that,” he added. “But the loveliest thing about the church is God’s people engaged in the transforming mission of God: feeding the hungry and looking after … the poor, sheltering AA groups, welcoming refugees.

“This is the work that Jesus asked us to get up to, and so we thought that there might be an interest in the church in a calendar that celebrated that engagement.”

Responsibility for overseeing the new calendar fell to Gallop Blank and Meghan Kilty, director of Communications and Information Resources for the Anglican Church of Canada.

Currently engaged in layout and design with her Lutheran counterpart, Kilty noted that the main focus of the new calendar would be on “exciting, beautiful photos of mission.”

In the process of brainstorming and reaching out to staff members, the pair have repeatedly found many commonalities in mission work, such as involvement by both churches in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, their mutual support of hospitals, and their joint organization of the Canadian Lutheran Anglican Youth gathering.

“There are interesting stories out there, and so moving away from the veneration of buildings to focus on ministry life I think is an important change,” Kilty said.

Delivery of the 2017 Canadian Church Calendar is expected in August, with the calendar subsequently available for order by church members and parishes.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, May 26, 2016

Lampedusa cross at the Anglican Centre in Rome

Posted on: May 25th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Archbishop David Moxon arrives on the Italian island of Lampedusa
Photo Credit: Anglican Centre in Rome

[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] A cross made from wood taken from a boat used by refugees crossing the Mediterranean as they sought sanctuary in Europe is to grace the altar of the Anglican Centre in Rome. The cross was made by artist Franco Tuccio on the Italian island of Lampedusa and resembles a pastoral staff given by the artist to Pope Francis when he visited the island two years ago.

The cross was presented to Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, when he made a visit to the island on Monday with Father Marcus Walker, the centre’s Associate Director.

“Because of the Anglican Centre’s interest in modern slavery and human trafficking over the last three years, two friends of the Centre arranged for us to receive a specially made wooden Lampedusa Cross, to be placed in our chapel as a sign of the plight of refugees,” Archbishop Moxon said at the start of his visit.

In addition to meeting the artist, the two Anglican leaders met a number of people who work with refugees on the island, including the Roman Catholic parish priest of Lampedusa, Don Mimmo, who hosted the visit, as well as Luca Maria Negri, the president of the Federazione Chiese Evangeliche Italiane; and Germano Garatto, co-ordinator of Foundation Migrantes for the Italian Bishop Conference.

“From the moment we got off the plane until leaving the island again Fr Marcus and I were constantly moved, challenged, and surprised by what we heard and saw,” Archbishop Moxon said.

Commenting on his meeting with the artist, he said: “Franco was clearly deeply motivated to use his art to draw the world’s attention to the plight of thousands of refugees who enter Europe through this island.

“People are picked up at sea and are rescued from drowning and snatched from the jaws of death to be given a new start. This cross he made will lie on the altar of the Anglican Centre in Rome as witness to their suffering and the Easter hope which is now being offered to them.”

Archbishop Moxon and Father Walker paid a visit to Lampedusa cemetery which houses graves of many of the refugees who died making the crossing. The cemetery “includes the grave and story of Welela, a young African woman who had been burned alive while being trafficked,” Archbishop Moxon said. “There are hundreds and hundreds of people like her whose names we will never know, who have disappeared without trace in the Mediterranean Sea.

“The people of the island of Lampedusa try to honour their memory in a portion of the cemetery dedicated to the unknown. The people of the island have shown enormous compassion to both the living and the dead – as stories of their welcome to every new batch of migrants rescued from the sea tell.”

The Archbishop described Don Mimmo as a “remarkable” parish priest. “He is clearly at the moral and pastoral heart of the island’s community and is clearly the hub of the local response to what is an extra-ordinary situation. He was known and greeted and chatted with and welcomed by almost everyone we met. . . He would welcome Anglican prayer and support.”

The Archbishop said that conversations “naturally explored what Anglican networks might be doing in this area, and the potential for further collaboration,” and he would discuss the issue further with the Anglican Alliance.

“Lampedusa is the site of so much desperation – but also so much redemption,” he said. “Only an Easter faith makes any sense on Lampedusa.”

In his blog, Archbishop David outlined some of the ministry to refugees carried out by Anglicans.

  • In Greece the Anglican Church has been the catalyst and bridge builder which enabled six Christian agencies and Churches to come together to learn what each is doing and able to commit to in the face of the crisis. It was through this Anglican initiative to convoke an ecumenical response that the Orthodox Archdiocese of Athens, the Jesuit Refugee Service, Caritas, the Salvation Army, the Greek Evangelical Church, formed a coordination, with each individual church or agency taking lead responsibility for a particular programme or programmes which the other Churches could then tap into to avoid duplication
  • In Greece, due to the rapidly changing situation, our own Anglican response has had to evolve with the changes. At one time, we worked with what was called the “lighthouse” team on Lesbos, receiving refugees arriving at that time by boat from Turkey, providing a clothes-changing area, a kitchen, and tents to shelter the arrivals, and providing food, clothing and medicines. Then it needed to shift to deliver meals (400 per week) to two detention centres (for those deemed to be illegal) on the outskirts of Athens.
  • Elsewhere in Europe, during the large flow of refugees up through Central Europe earlier this year, Anglicans in Budapest and Vienna prepared aid packs to distribute among refugees at the train stations. Much of this has been made possible through our partnership with [the United Society] who have been our major Anglican mission agency partnering with us to respond through the establishment of a rapid response fund, raising monies from churches in the UK and Ireland. Since the closure of the Greek northern border with Macedonia a different response to the refugee/migrant crisis in Greece has had to be made. No longer are the needs of transient refugees/migrants the priority. Instead it is the 54,000 refugees / migrants now stranded in hurriedly erected “closed camps.”
  • In cities such as Vienna, many Anglican families are hosting refugees in their own homes, so their experience is very close to home.
  • Elsewhere in the diocese response continues to the specific contextual needs, for instance in Ankara, our Anglican parish has an extensive programme of welcome and accompaniment for refugees, mostly from Iran and Iraq. In Morocco, we are working with Roman Catholic partners in assisting refugees from Sub-Saharan Africa.

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Anglican Communion News Service, Daily update from ACNS on Wednesday 25 May 2016

Anglicans, Roman Catholics team up to tackle big questions

Posted on: May 24th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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“Suddenly we felt the energy of addressing questions that were pulsing with interest for people,” says Bishop Donald Bolen of the Roman Catholic diocese of Saskatoon. Photo: Diocese of Saskatoon


Is doubt just the opposite of faith? Or is it more complicated? Bishop Donald Bolen, of the Roman Catholic diocese of Saskatoon, says this is one of the central issues facing people today, and a question that’s been on his mind throughout his life as a priest.

For him, it’s definitely more complicated.

“In a sense, apathy is the opposite of faith, whereas a lively doubt is a part of our faith,” Bolen says. “Doubt wants faith to have its reasons…I think when people pay serious attention to their doubts and don’t give up on them, but work with them, the doubting becomes a motivation to think more, to search more, to pray more, to look harder, to find reasons, and I think that’s a motivation which leads to a deeper faith,” he says.

“The doubter is on a quest.”

If you like engaging with questions like these, you might enjoy a visit to didyoueverwonder.ca, a recent initiative of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (ARC-Canada), a gathering of theologians from both churches of which Bolen is Roman Catholic co-chair. Launched last December, the website features a collection of short meditations, captured on video, by dialogue members on basic questions of faith and existence, such as, “Why is the world the way it is?” “What is my mission in life?” “Why believe?” and “Will it be okay?” Each reflection is accompanied by questions to guide further discussion.

Didyoueverwonder.ca is “a kind of stepping out in faith on the part of the dialogue—it’s like, ‘Let’s see where this might go, and who this might touch,’ ” says Coadjutor Bishop Bruce Myers of the diocese of Quebec and former ARC-Canada co-secretary.

“To my knowledge, no other ecumenical dialogue in the world has tried this sort of thing.”

The idea for the project arose in 2011, at a time when both churches were intensifying their focus on explaining themselves to people who might have no church background but still be curious about religion, Myers says.

“There was this kind of convergence of things,” he says. “We were both faced with this very secular context in which both our churches [were] trying to speak the faith anew to a new generation—a sometimes skeptical generation.”

There seemed a common desire among dialogue members, he says, to depart from the usual practice of developing jointly agreed statements on matters that divide the two churches, and instead engage in a “common witness project.”

Eventually, someone proposed the idea of a series of short reflections on fundamental questions of life and belief—an idea that generated a lot of excitement within the dialogue, Bolen says.

“When we asked, ‘Why believe?’ ‘Why belong?’ ‘Why the church?’ ‘Why this church?’, suddenly we felt the energy of addressing questions that were pulsing with interest for people,” he says.

Dialogue members brainstormed which questions the project should address, and each member basically selected his or her favourite, Bolen says. They then wrote their musings on these questions, aiming for what he calls a “non-churchy,” informal style.

They soon realized, however, that the project would likely reach more people if it were multimedia, Myers says—if the reflections were also captured on video and made accessible to “digital natives,” accustomed to using smartphones, laptops and tablets. The dialogue engaged Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, a Roman Catholic charity that produces television and other content for evangelical purposes, to film and edit the reflections. Their services were offered at what Myers calls “an incredibly generous rate” and the costs were shared by the two churches.

Anglican ARC-Canada co-chair Linda Nicholls, who is also co-adjutor bishop of the diocese of Huron, says the videos could easily be used within churches, by study groups, or as a tool for evangelizing or generating discussion in the wider public.

Myers agrees. He foresees the videos being used not only by parish groups, but also possibly by chaplains on university and college campuses. He hopes that generally they “might enjoy a life outside Churchland,” with Internet surfers, for example, perhaps stumbling upon them and sharing them.

It’s a prospect that would likely also delight the other Anglican-Catholic dialogue group in Canada—the ARC bishops’ dialogue—Myers says, given how enthusiastic the bishops in that group were about the project as a way of bringing ecumenism to a wider public.

“When ARC-Canada—the theologians—went to the bishops and said, ‘This is what we’re thinking about doing. What do you think?’, the bishops were really enthusiastic and said, ‘This is exactly the kind of thing we want to see more of,’ ” Myers says.

The bishops’ view, he says, was that “it’s practical ecumenism that has an immediate application, it’s evangelistic and actually gives tangible expression to what we’re always saying, which is, ‘Anglicans and Catholics agree on a whole bunch of stuff—why aren’t we articulating that in more tangible ways more often?’”

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, May 24, 2016

The Rev. Clarke Raymond remembered as bridge-builder

Posted on: May 24th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Rev. Clarke Raymond, who died Wednesday, May 18, served as executive director of program for the Anglican Church of Canada from 1971 to 1991. Photo: General Synod Archives


The Rev. Clarke Raymond, a former high-level staffer at the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office, is being remembered for his decades of contributions to the national church.Raymond, who served as executive director of program from 1971 until his retirement in 1991, died Wednesday morning, May 18, after a struggle with prostate cancer. He was 89.

Archbishop Michael Peers, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 1986 to 2004, said he would remember Raymond first and foremost as an “enabler,” especially skilled at finding suitable people to pair with tasks, and with other people.

“Dioceses don’t have automatic connections with other dioceses around the Canadian church, but he had those connections, and he knew them very well, so connecting people…searching for the same thing was a great talent,” Peers said.

Raymond was a firm believer in strong connections between the national office and the dioceses, he said.

“He felt that it was easy for the national church to imagine that it was the ‘real’ church, and that there were other people elsewhere who did their work and all that sort of stuff—but he didn’t,” Peers said. “He worked at making the national church not just its own thing, but visibly a service to the wider church.”

One of Raymond’s convictions, he said, was that every national office staff person should have a connection with a diocese.

He was also a careful listener, Peers said.

“He had a very sharp ear for listening to the wider church, and to the staff and others who would be charged with carrying out national programs,” he said.

Raised in Fergus, Ont., Raymond earned a BA in political science and economics at the University of Toronto, then completed a theology degree at Huron College, London, Ont., in 1952. He served as parish priest in two parishes in Hamilton and St. Catharines, both in the diocese of Niagara, until 1963.

Raymond then came to Toronto to work at the national office, where he dealt with vocations and universities and colleges. He also worked with dioceses to set up continuing education programs for clerics and lay people.

In 1971, Raymond took on his post as executive director of program, responsible for developing policy and working with national staff to implement it. The post would occupy him for the next two decades.

In a 1991 Anglican Journal article covering his retirement, Raymond said he had worked through “stormy and exciting theological times.”

Among the key issues of his time with the national office were the Anglican Church of Canada’s 1975 withdrawal from union negotiations with the United Church of Canada; the ordination of women; and relationships with Indigenous people. As executive director of program, Raymond concerned himself with a wide range of other issues, including ecumenism, the Council of the North and gender equality.

Raymond was also involved with the Canadian Council of Churches, serving as its acting general secretary from 1993–1994.

He was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree from his alma mater, Huron College, in 1994.

He is survived by his wife, Mary, and five sons, John, Mark, Paul, Stephen and Geoffrey, and five grandchildren.

A funeral will be held at Royal York Road United Church on Saturday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m., with visitation on Friday, June 3, 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Butler Chapel, 4933 Dundas St. W., Toronto.

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, May 24, 2016

Reaping the benefits of Anglican-RC talks

Posted on: May 16th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Praying together on Ash Wednesday eventually led to New Zealand Roman Catholics and Anglicans collaborating in a number of different ways—including a joint mission that serves 7,000 people, says Archbishop David Moxon of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, and Anglican co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC). Photo: Tali Folkins


About 23 years ago, says Archbishop David Moxon of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, he and the local Roman Catholic bishop made an agreement that still makes him feel hopeful.The two church heads decided to share the rite of imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday—a tradition that continues in New Zealand today.

Outstanding doctrinal differences prevent the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches from being able to actually take communion together. But Moxon, who is also the Anglican co-chair of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC)—the two faith groups’ international ecumenical body—is encouraged about the prospect of ongoing dialogue. The relationships made between New Zealand Anglicans and Roman Catholics through sharing the Ash Wednesday rite, he says, led the two churches to spearhead a joint mission that involves nine Christian charities and serves about 7,000 people in the city of Hamilton, New Zealand.

“That idea of praying together, especially on Ash Wednesday,” Moxon said in Toronto Wednesday, May 11, “…provides the context for saying, ‘How can we rebuild from here?’ “

Moxon and other members of ARCIC are in Toronto this week until May 19 for a joint meeting with the group’s Canadian counterpart, the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (ARC-Canada). The event marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the international Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue—and it’s also the first time the third round of that dialogue, known as ARCIC III, has met with one of its national counterparts.

Co-chairs of both ARCIC and ARC-Canada gave a public presentation in Toronto Wednesday, in which they spoke of the challenges of dialogue and the progress that has been made.

Bishop Linda Nicholls, coadjutor bishop of Huron and Anglican co-chair of ARC-Canada, acknowledged that one challenge of ecumenical dialogue is that its benefits aren’t always apparent to people.

“It does seem sometimes to be a work that remains hidden, as an esoteric sideline to the work of the church that is often unknown at the grassroots level,” she said. “When I say to people I’m going off to Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue, people look at me in puzzlement: ‘Why?’ or, ‛Is that still going on?’ “ Her words elicited a ripple of laughter from the audience.

Nevertheless, she said, the benefits of the dialogue are real. It can help dispel prejudices and misconceptions members of each church have about the other. It can also lead to on-the-ground collaboration like the New Zealand mission described by Moxon, she said.

Another challenge of dialogue—making it sometimes seem as though it takes a step back for every two steps forward—is that the doctrine of a church’s ecumenical partner is not necessarily fixed, but can change from time to time, said Roman Catholic ARCIC co-chair Archbishop Bernard Longley, of the diocese of Birmingham, U.K.

The Anglican move to ordain women as priests, along with Pope Benedict’s 2009 creation of “ordinariates” for Anglican groups that expressed a desire to become Roman Catholic, are among the developments that have posed challenges to the dialogue, Nicholls said.

However, the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue possesses unique virtues that have allowed it to keep moving forward, said ARC-Canada Roman Catholic co-chair Bishop Donald Bolen, of the diocese of Saskatoon—including the willingness of both sides to “stay at the table when things get difficult.

“When the dialogue partner does something that we feel is deeply problematic, there is a temptation to pull the plug, to walk away,” Bolen said. “We do well to remember what St. Paul says—’The eye can’t say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’…when one part of the body suffers, all suffer.”

Dialogue co-chairs also praised the method of “receptive ecumenism” used by ARCIC and ARC-Canada, whereby each group reveals its weaknesses to the other.

Receptive ecumenism, Moxon said, means having each partner say to the other, “You tell me your worst nightmare in mission and I’ll tell you mine. In other words, show me your wounds.”

This mutual vulnerability in ecumenical dialogue, he said, “leads to a mutual courage, a mutual partnership to assist each other in overcoming, and healing, and redeeming together.”

The particular question that the current round of ARCIC, which began in 2009, is now grappling with is how moral discernment in the two churches is related to their ecclesiology—how their decisions on issues such as same-sex marriage, for example, might depend on their church structure, says Canon John Gibaut, director of  Unity, Faith and Order of the Anglican Communion. For about three years now, he says, ARCIC III has been working on a paper on one part of this question—how authority is vested in the structure of the two churches. The hope is that this paper will be essentially finished by the end of the current meeting in Toronto.

“That will be something really important to offer to the churches—it will be the basis on which the commission will next look at a variety of ethical questions,” he says.

Progress in ecumenism, Gibaut says, may be slow, but it has a real impact on the lives of believers. In Canada, improved relationships over the past few decades have benefited Anglicans and Roman Catholics in many ways, he says.

“I remember, as a child, the relationships were just awful,” he says. “And I think of the number of Canadian Anglicans who are in, say, inter-church marriages with Roman Catholics, or their children are attending Roman Catholic schools. I taught for 14 years at St. Paul University, a Roman Catholic University. These things would have been unimagined…I think of the social justice coalitions in this country which are so heavily supported by Anglicans and Roman Catholics.”

Moreover, he says, relationships forged in ecumenical dialogue have helped the churches come together much faster and more effectively on other issues, such as modern slavery and human trafficking.

“Ecumenical progress is measured in decades, not in days,” he says. “And yet it does move, and it does change things, and we live in a very different world because of it.”

About the Author

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, May 13, 2016

Arctic diocese set to re-open training school

Posted on: May 10th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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St. Jude's Cathedral in Iqaluit will be the new location of the Arthur Turner Training School when it re-opens this fall.

St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit will be the new location of the Arthur Turner Training School when it re-opens this fall.

Arctic diocese set to re-open training school

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After nearly a decade interval, the Arthur Turner Training School (ATTS) will open its doors again this fall, spearheading diocesan education across the Arctic from its new location at St. Jude’s Cathedral in Iqaluit.

Re-opening the school has long been a priority for the Anglican diocese of the Arctic, with the Rt. Rev. Darren McCartney, suffragan bishop and chair of the education committee, leading the charge. The effort received a major boost this year when the diocese received its return from the Anglican Church of Canada Resolution Corporation, totalling approximately $50,000.

The Rev. Joseph Royal, director of ATTS and its primary teacher, estimated that the extra influx of cash would cover roughly one-third of the school’s operating budget for the year, helping pay up-front costs such as salaries, materials and supplies, travel, operations, and providing housing for students.

“As you can probably imagine, it’s not cheap to do anything in the north,” Royal said. “The costs of everything are high, so the [return] certainly does help.”

The Arthur Turner Training School first opened in 1970 in Pangnirtung, an Inuit community east of Iqaluit on the coast of Baffin Island. Royal described the goal of the school, then and now, as training and empowering Indigenous people, who make up the majority of the Arctic population.

Targeted primarily at training students for ordained ministry, the school offers a two-year diploma program in Arctic ministry with a practicum between each year. Classes include introductions to the Old and New Testaments, Anglicanism, theology, church history, and worship.

Following a successful run in its original incarnation at Pangnirtung, the school was obliged to shut down operations in 2007 as its rapidly aging buildings proved unsuitable to host classes. The closure of the school followed the 2005 fire that destroyed the original St. Jude’s Cathedral.

With the opening of a replacement cathedral in 2012 at a cost of $11 million, the new St. Jude’s offered a convenient location for the diocese to re-open ATTS, making the most of its available resources.

The new location in Iqaluit offers many opportunities to students training for Arctic ministry, such as chaplaincy work at the local hospital, ministry at correctional facilities, and volunteering in the food centre that runs out of the cathedral.

“We’re giving the students the best opportunity that we possibly can to sample different areas of ministry that are important in the north,” Bishop McCartney said.

Iqaluit’s multicultural nature is well suited to the bilingual school, which offers classes in both Inuktitut and English. Meanwhile, the city’s central location and status as a regional transportation hub allow lay leaders or clergy visiting the city to sit in on lectures.

With ATTS currently accepting applications, its proponents hope that the re-opening in September will create beneficial effects across the diocese.

“As a bishop, I traveled to the whole of the diocese and visit each of these communities, and that’s a question that we’ve continually been asked—‘Can we get a minister? Can we get a clergyperson? Can we get a priest?’” McCartney said. “So people are asking for it and we’re trying to respond to that need.”

Royal highlighted the parish model taught by the school, which emphasizes that ministry extends beyond those who attend church to the community as a whole.

“Ask people in a northern community, and they will tell you that ministers are first responders,” Royal said. “They’re support people. They wear many hats, and their ministry is very, very broad in a community. So I think [the re-opening of the school will] have tremendous impact.”

“It’s not just good for church-goers,” he added. “It’s good for everybody.”

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, May 04, 2016

PWRDF announces aid for Ethiopia, Ecuador

Posted on: May 10th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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More than 10 million people in Ethiopia are now threatened by famine, according to the UN. Photo: LWF/ACT Alliance


The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has announced two aid packages to help people stricken by drought in Ethiopia and earthquake victims in Ecuador.On April 28, PWRDF announced $40,000 in aid to support farmers and pastoralists—herders of cattle and other livestock—suffering from what the UN says is the worst drought to have hit Ethiopia in three decades. The money will support more than 8,500 people in the country’s Afar region, providing them with 15 kg of corn, feed for cattle and other livestock, seeds, tools and animals, and helping them improve the water supply.

PWRDF, the relief and development agency of the Anglican Church of Canada, is considering more funding for Ethiopian drought relief in addition to this initial grant, spokesperson Simon Chambers said.

El Niño, a weather pattern that brings warmer temperatures, has been one reason for the drought, PWRDF said. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, more than 10 million people in Ethiopia are now threatened by famine.

The grant is being made through the ACT Alliance, a network of 140 faith groups in more than 100 countries that does international aid, development and advocacy work.

PWRDF announced another initial grant of $15,000 to support relief efforts in Ecuador three days after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the country April 16. This grant—also being made through the ACT Alliance—was to go toward providing food, water, shelter, medical supplies, counselling and household items in the days immediately following the quake, PWRDF said.

More than 650 people are reported to have died from the earthquake, with tens of thousands left homeless. It was the most powerful earthquake to have hit the region in 36 years, PWRDF said, with its epicentre just 170 km north of Quito, capital of Ecuador.

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, May 03, 2016

Anglican dioceses, parishes engage TRC Calls to Action

Posted on: May 10th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Anglicans march in the walk for reconciliation that launched the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final event in Ottawa on May 31, 2015. Photo: Anglican Journal


As the one-year anniversary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s release of its 94 Calls to Action approaches this June 2, some Anglican dioceses and parishes are finding their own ways of recognizing the church’s role in the Indian residential school system and striving for reconciliation with the victims of that system.

On April 18, Bishop Michael Bird of the diocese of Niagara announced the appointment of Canon Valerie Kerr, rector of St. John the Evangelist in Niagara Falls, Ont., to a new position: archdeacon for truth, reconciliation and Indigenous ministry.

In a prepared statement, the bishop’s office said Kerr would be tasked with “helping the Bishop implement the Anglican Church of Canada’s commitment to truth and reconciliation in the Diocese of Niagara” and that this ministry would include “teaching, building relationships and fostering healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.”

Kerr, a Mohawk woman who has served as an Anglican priest for more than a decade, told a Niagara Falls newspaper that Bird’s offer of the appointment had left her without words.

“I said, ‘Bishop, not very often I’m speechless, but I don’t know what to say,’ ” Kerr said.

“It’s a huge responsibility, but it’s also a passion for me,” she added.

Meanwhile, across Canada dioceses are using funds returned to them under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) for a number of initiatives, according to a statement released April 29 by the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office. The diocese of Toronto, for example, is beginning a new endowment fund to support Indigenous ministry; the diocese of Central Newfoundland is funding research into the early history of Beothuk people and the Anglican church; and the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island has returned the funds it received back to the national office, to be used by the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation.

Not all of this reconciliation work is being done at the national and diocesan levels. Since a service this March, at All Saints Anglican Church in Erin, Ont., the entire 94 Calls to Action are being read aloud during worship, and prayers offered “for those in leadership to respond faithfully to the Calls,” says Canon Susan Wilson, rector at All Saints.

The idea, Wilson says, came from a parishioner who asked what All Saints was doing in response to the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report.

Others have responded positively to the public reading of the Calls to Action, Wilson says. “Some parishioners have expressed their gratitude for the increased awareness this is creating. There have been numerous overheard discussions at coffee hour about the Calls to Action and our response to them.”

As well, the parish is planning to publicly read the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Wilson says she also hopes to host a blanket exercise—an interactive tool intended for teaching the history of Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in Canada—in the community.

“It may be a small thing that we are doing in our small church, but I believe that it is touching lives and changing hearts,” she says.

Since last fall, most of the $2.8 million that the Anglican Church of Canada’s national office had set aside for healing under the IRSSA has been returned to the dioceses that originally contributed the money, under the terms of the agreement. This is because, under that agreement, the national office would need that money to partially match funds raised by Roman Catholic Church entities if those entities raised $1l.08 million by September 2014. However, the Roman Catholic fundraising campaign fell far short of this goal.

The national office earmarked its contribution to the $2.8 reserve fund—$324,834—for the Anglican Fund for Healing and Reconciliation.

According to the national office statement, “in most of the dioceses that receive a return of the funds they created, those funds are being used to boost the local church’s capacity to respond to the challenge of justice and right relations among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, or to support the continuing national initiative of the Healing Fund.”

The $2.8 million, which was the subject of national news media coverage, is part of a total settlement package of $15.7 million reached between the Anglican Church of Canada and other parties to the IRSSA.

 Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins

Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal.  His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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Anglican Journal News, May 03, 2016

General Synod worship will aim for ‘newness in the familiar’

Posted on: April 30th, 2016 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Worship at General Synod 2016 will encourage members to reflect on “how we are hearing God speak to us through Scripture,” says the Rev. Martha Tatarnic, chair of the worship committee. Photo:  André Forget


When General Synod meets in Richmond Hill, Ont., July 7-12, the worship will focus on getting back to the roots of the Anglican liturgy, according to the Rev. Martha Tatarnic, chair of the General Synod 2016 worship committee.

While the emphasis in planning worship for the previous General Synod, in 2013, was on innovation, the hope this year is that people will “experience something of God’s newness in the familiar,” said Tatarnic.

“This General Synod, I think, is much more about being grounded in what has been passed along to us,” said Tatarnic, who served on the worship committee at the last meeting as well. “There is the expectation that through those traditional pieces…baptism, [The Lord’s] table, Scripture…we will have a new experience of God at work in our midst.”

Tatarnic said the worship committee’s work has been guided by three principles: a desire to make the worship Scripture-centric, commitment to ensuring the space feels sacred and attentiveness to the synod’s theme, “You Are My Witnesses” (Isaiah 43:10).

The committee is considering text-based forms of worship like Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) and the practice of gospel-based discipleship common among First Nations Anglicans, to encourage members to reflect “how we are hearing God speak to us through Scripture.”

Tatarnic acknowledged that the emphasis on time spent thinking and praying about Scripture was shaped by the fact that members of synod will be voting on whether or not to change the church’s Canon XXI to allow for same-sex marriage.

“This is a difficult conversation for many—there certainly is the anticipation afloat in the church that it will be controversial, or that it will be divisive,” she said. “I would say the worship committee is very much attentive to lifting up our common ground, lifting up the places in our faith that actually are the source of our unity.”

But the worship will also reflect the diversity of the church, Tatarnic said. On July 10, the day on which matters of particular interest to Indigenous Anglicans will be discussed, the Sunday morning Eucharist will be planned and led by Indigenous leaders.

“It has been a great opportunity to work with [the Indigenous leaders],” she said. “We have tried very much to be attentive to that conversation, [it] being such a big piece of what we are doing together this summer at General Synod in terms of truth and reconciliation.”

About the Author

André Forget

André Forget

André Forget joined the Anglican Journal in 2014 as staff writer and social media lead. He also serves as managing editor of Whether Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The Dalhousie Review, The Winnipeg Review, and the Town Crier.

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Anglican Journal News, April 15, 2016